16th September, 2011
Enyimba FC of Aba may have cruised safely to the semi final stage of the Orange CAF Champions League even as they have one group match left against Coton Sport of Cameroon; but the Peopleâ€™s Elephants insist they have football scores to settle with their opponents when they take to the field on Sunday in Aba.
Enyimba is currently at the top of Group A with eleven points, four points clear of their closest rivals, and incidentally Coton Sport; but they still consider their last group match anything but a formality.
The two time former African Champions still rue their loss in the hands of Coton Sport when both teams met in 2007, a defeat that caused Enyimbaâ€™s forced exit from Africaâ€™s most prestigious club competition. Enyimba had defeated them 2 -0 in their first match in Aba and had gone to Cameroon with the busting confidence that they could walk over Coton Sport. Enyimba toyed with the accurate rating of Coton and barely honored the match without most of their regulars.
That move proved to be very costly as Coton handed them in a shocking 3 â€“ 0 defeat that signaled their exit from the competition. When both teams file out this weekend at the 10,000 capacity Enyimba Stadium, Coton would be under intense pressure to salvage their stay in the competition, while Enyimba would seek to avenge the 2007 loss that almost pitched them against their sponsors.
This is despite the fact that Enyimba had systematically put Coton in their present uncertain stage, defeating them 3 â€“ 2 in front of their home fans Match Day 2 of the Orange CAF Champions League. The Enyimba camp is very mindful of the historic nature of this match and seems to be in the appropriate mood to execute a convincing match plan.
With no injury worries and the players enjoying an impressive ten match unbeaten record in all competitions; it may be difficult for the Cameroonians to survive the heat.
Reflecting on the significance of the match,chief coach of Enyimba,Okey Emordi said: â€œ We are going to play the match as if we still need the 3-points at stake to qualify for the semi finalâ€
Interestingly too,Enyimba has a tall order from their sponsors to rewrite CAF history by winning the competition on a 100% clean slate. Another important factor that would play out is the trade relationship between the two countries especially those in Aba. Cameroonians form the bulk of patronisers of the famous â€˜Aba madeâ€™ products. This scenario may mop up varying emotions from kick off at Aba on Sunday. It is expected that the spectators, largely traders of Aba extraction would exhibit understandable sympathy for their customers from Cameroon. It is not certain to what extent this trade relationship would influence mood of support but it is almost foreclosed how Enyimba players would react during duration of play. Coton Sports are at the edge of elimination while still contending with Eyimbaâ€™s longstanding animosity. These factors would combine to ensure a spectacular football show at Aba this Sunday.